The Handbook of Globalisation, Third Edition
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The Handbook of Globalisation, Third Edition

Edited by Jonathan Michie

The past 30 years are often depicted as an era of globalisation, and even more so with the recent rise of global giants such as Google and Amazon. This updated and revised edition of The Handbook of Globalisation offers novel insights into the rapid changes our world is facing, and how best we can handle them.
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Chapter 7: The multiplicity of distributional outcomes across the world: diversities of fundamentals or countries getting the inequality they deserve?

José Gabriel Palma


In this chapter I examine the main stylised facts of the current broad spectrum of inequality and then propose new ways of looking at inequality. I discuss why the neoclassical theory of factor shares that underpins influential accounts of inequality today (e.g., Piketty) not only does not ‘fit the facts’, but also relies on a methodology and social ontology that assumes that particularly complex and over-determined processes are just the simple sum of their parts. I conclude that in order to understand current distributive dynamics, what really matters is to comprehend the forces determining the share of the rich – and, in terms of growth, what they choose to do with it.

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